Vaping in Restroom: All Smoke and Mirrors

AI Detectors Extinguish Vaping at Schools

Hannah Stamper, Writer

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Vaping in the restroom may be all smoke and mirrors!

Certain vapes look a lot like USB sticks, which allow kids to take a puff and hide it before anyone could even see them. To combat this, schools have tried just about everything. The principal at Jonathon Law High School in Milford, CT, has limited bathroom use for some students. Other schools are checking students’ personal belongings and even making them roll up their sleeves to make sure no one is hiding vapes or e-cigarettes. A school in Alabama removed the boy’s bathroom stalls to prevent anyone from smoking.

From 2011 to 2015 e-cigarettes have increased 900 percent among high school students. In recent months, the Food and Drug Administration has tried to make a big push to stop giving e-cigarettes to minors, as the vaping situation has gotten worse. There have been hundreds of warning letters to manufacturers; they even raided the head quarters of popular vape makers.

But, some schools in the U.S. and even Canada are thinking about a new strategy—using AI-powered surveillance devices to catch student’s vaping. As a result, more than 200 are testing vaping detection systems. Since it’s illegal to put cameras in the school bathrooms, they are using Fly Sense, this AI-powered vaping detection system that will detect the chemical signatures of vapes and send a text or email to the school officials or anyone on the staff.

The system is between 70 and 80 percent accurate at detecting vaping, which is already correlating into a 70 percent average decrease in overall use—at least in the restrooms.  Rest assured, however, that this system won’t be sensing anything inappropriate other than smoking and fighting. Fly Sense is capable of detecting not only smoke but also loud noises that may suggest violence like fighting, screaming, or bullying. This would help when cameras or microphones in certain places is not appropriate.

With the app, administrators will be able to check or adjust their device at any time. The CEO of Soter Technologies, Derek Peterson, is a former victim of bullying. In another article, he shares how he understands what it was like; he knows that this technology can help stop the bullying and smoking at school—or anywhere else.

Protecting students isn’t just business for Peterson, it’s also very personal. Peterson states that he is dedicated to creating technology that will face the problems within schools across the U.S. Ever since Fly Sense was introduced in August 2017, it is now shipping out more than 600 units per month. Soon, vaping at school may go up in smoke